Finding your (printed) books

Finding your (printed) books

Getting hold of your books is one of the first things that occupies people’s minds when they arrive at university. Something about being presented with a reading list as long as their arm engenders a sense of urgency that often lasts only until they charge into the Library and realise how big it is. Fear not! There is a simple method for getting hold of all your books. I shall explain…

If you have an online reading list, everything that is available as an ebook should be linked to your reading list, so you can read it with a single tap. You might want a bigger screen to read it than the one on your mobile phone but the principle is the same.

Finding printed books

For any book not listed on a reading list, you need to find the book in the Library catalogue (or Discovery Service). You can then either find the book on the shelves yourself or ask us to fetch it for you using our Click & Collect service.

The quickest way to find a book is often to use your mobile phone. This video shows you how.

Breaking down bookfinding

Here are the individual steps to finding a book:

  1. Visit the Library website (there’s a link on the MyPort homepage).
  2. Click on the blue magnifying glass/spyglass button to open the search page.
  3. Find the catalogue search box (second box down).
  4. Search for the book(s) you want by title, author or keyword (as if you were searching Google).
  5. Click on the result for the book record you want.
  6. Use the floor plan and classmark number to find the book on the shelf or ask us to fetch it for you.

The catalogue record will give you the book’s shelfmark and tell you how many copies we have in stock. All that is left is getting hold of the book.

The easy way

Click “Reserve this item” in the reading list or catalogue record, follow the on-screen instructions until you get to the green box telling you everything is done, and then wait for the email (sent to your University email account) telling you that your book is ready to collect from the Click & Collect reservations collection point in the Atrium. This usually takes 2-3 days but is very handy if you know you are stopping by in a few days time.

The ‘hard and fast’ way

A faster way to get a printed book from the Library is to find the book on the shelf yourself. Either the reading list entry or catalogue record for the book will tell you the shelfmark (“classmark”) number of the book. Click the “Locate on shelf” to bring up an image of the floor section where the book is shelved, with the shelf where you can find the book highlighted.

Once you find the right shelf using the floor plan on your phone and the shelf end signs, you will find that all the books are arranged on the shelves in increasing shelfmark number order. Within each number, the books are arranged alphabetically by a three letter code that is usually the start of the first author’s surname. Find the shelfmark for the book you want and there you should also find the book.

Not only but also…

Books on the same topic have the same shelfmark number, which means that you will find all the books on a particular topic shelved together, so once you have found the places in the Library where ‘your books’ are shelved, you can find your way back much more easily. What’s more, once you find one useful book for a research project, you will often find other similar books shelved very close to it.

Help is available

Please let us know if you cannot find the book you want. We can find most things quickly. Outside staffed ours, you just need to tap the “Reserve” button in the catalogue record (see “The easy way” above) and we will find the book and leave it for you to collect from the Atrium within a few days.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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